When it comes to how much you might pay for your next ticket everything hinges on where you broke the law.

Traffic citations might seem to be a one-size-fits-all punishment, but in reality how much you pay varies greatly from community. A speeding fine might cost you $100 in the north, but the same citation will cost $500 or more at a community in the south. That means for drivers, the sticker shock that comes with their next citation could be astounding.

Once you get your ticket you need to think about how you want to handle it. For many drivers the first thought is that they will fight the citation in court. Unfortunately, despite what they might believe, if they don’t any evidence in a court of law the judge will always take the word of the police officer who cited them. Drivers need to have something more than their word that they weren’t speeding, or didn’t blow through that red light. With direct and irrefutable evidence the judge is simply going to find in favor of the law enforcement. That means you get stuck with the cost of the original citation and all court costs attributed to your defense against it.

You also need to consider how to handle the points that may be assigned to your license as a result of your traffic citation. Some drivers might opt to let the points stay, thinking they will just avoid getting another ticket until these points are automatically removed (usually about three years.)

This is hardly a guarantee, however. For most drivers the best bet is to use an accredited traffic school course to have the points kept off their license in the first place rather than counting on not getting another ticket any time soon.

After all, they likely didn’t plan on getting the ticket they got, how do they know when they will get another?